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April 08, 2014 7:34 am

Snozzle truck possibly en route home

Written by Gib Mathers

The Powell Fire Department’s snozzle truck may begin its journey home starting the end of the first week in April.

Park County Fire Protection District No. 1 purchased the $579,833 snozzle truck in June. The tanker has a 65-foot boom and nozzle attached to the end capable of piercing the toughest surfaces so Powell firefighters don’t have to scale steep, slick roofs. It was later discovered the inner boom had scratches or abrasions. So, Front Range Fire Apparatus of Denver, the company that sold the truck to the district, agreed to haul the truck back to Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis., where the truck was assembled, to make the necessary repairs at no cost to the district. That was in January.

After a new boom was installed and some recent tests, Pierce determined the boom, while mounted on a tanker as the snozzle truck is, was not fabricated for lifting or rescue. The National Fire Protection Association agreed with Pierce, said Kenny Skalsky, the district’s administrator at the district’s monthly meeting on April 1.

The department never intended to use it for rescue, said Powell Volunteer Fire Department Asst. Chief Damian Dicks.

However, during training in August, firefighters were told by an Oshkosh Airport Products representative that the boom was capable of lifting 500 pounds, said Powell Volunteer Fire Department Chief Joey Darrah.

Pierce had bought the boom/nozzle design from another manufacturer and discovered the boom was capable of lifting humans when mounted on a ladder truck, a truck designed to lift people, said TJ Bell, district president.

Pierce said it would renew the warranty on the boom only, Skalsky said.

Roger Easum, district secretary/treasurer, said he wanted a new warranty for the entire truck, not just the boom.

Skalsky said Pierce would likely do it.

“I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t need it,” Easum said.

The district and department analyzed their truck replacement schedule.

In total CDs, checking and savings less accounts payable, the district has nearly $2 million, according to the March 31 report. 

The money is earmarked for truck replacement and other equipment such as oxygen tanks and the accompanying hardware.

No. 4, a 1987 tanker truck, is due for replacement this year at an estimated cost of $250,000, according to a equipment replacement schedule prepared by the district. 

However, with a small platform on front with a mounted hose gun, the department likes the truck, Darrah said.

Two years ago the tank was replaced on No. 4, Skalsky said.

Only six to 10 current firefighters are well versed in No. 4’s operation. “In the near future that will be a factor in that truck,” Dicks said.

No. 6, a brush truck, is scheduled for replacement in 2018 at a estimated cost of $150,000.

Brush trucks, with a tank and hose, resemble brawny one-ton trucks capable of traversing rugged ground that ponderous city tankers can’t access. The department has two brush trucks that are used frequently on grass/brush fires.

Because the brush trucks cover the toughest terrain, they undergo the most wear and tear and likely need replacement first, Darrah said.

The department will organize a truck replacement committee and report its findings at the next district meeting or prior to the upcoming budget sessions, Darrah said.

The district meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the fire department on South Street.

SCBA or self-contained breathing apparatus air packs/tanks and face masks require replacement. The cost would run roughly $200,000, Skalsky said.

Park County dispatch retained

At the March 4 meeting the district decided to stay with and negotiate a new radio dispatch contract with the Park County Sheriff’s office dispatch center in Cody.

Since 2000 the fire department has been summoned to fires, car wrecks and other emergencies by the county. It was paged by the Powell Police Department before 2000.

At the district’s February meeting, Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt offered his department’s dispatch services for $1,500 per month. The county is currently providing dispatch services to the department for $1,250 per month.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward offered a tentative proposal to increase the $1,250 per month rate by 10 percent and then begin implementing 3.5 percent annual cost of living increases at the February meeting.

Skalsky said he had called the sheriff’s office to inform them of the district decision and to request a new contract for the district to review.

“It (dispatch contract) would be in next year’s budget,” Skalsky said.

The district will began work on its 2014/15 budget and draft preliminary budgets this month and in June, Skalsky said.

The district agreed to meet at 6 p.m. Monday, April 21, at the Lamplighter Inn’s restaurant in Powell to begin the process of preparing the budget.

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